Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Julius-Kühn-Institut, viticultural research station at Siebeldingen in the Pfalz region of germany known to insiders by its previous name of Geilweilerhof and specializing in breeding vine varieties which combine resistance to fungal diseases with superior wine quality. As early as 1926, Peter Morio and later Professor Husfeld were working on combining the desirable characteristics found in american vine species with the wine quality produced by vinifera varieties. Today some Asian species of the genus vitis are also explored. Much of the focus of research is on improving vine-breeding efficiency, with particular reference to pest and disease resistance, frost and drought resistance, as well as important wine constituents (particularly aroma and phenolic compounds), the genetic resources of Vitis, grape genomic research, and biotechnology. Some of the most famous varieties from Geilweilerhof are morio-muskat, bacchus, optima, and domina. In the early 1990s, the successful breeding work of Professor Alleweldt led to the release of the first fungus-resistant varieties such as phoenix (1992), and a host of other new disease-resistant varieties such as Sirius, Orion, and regent (1994). By 2004, Regent was planted on more than 2000 ha/5,000 acres in Germany, representing a breakthrough in the acceptance of new varieties. Other new cultivars were released in 2004: Villaris and Felicia (white), and Calandro and Reberger (black). Geilweilerhof provides three grapevine databases on its website. The journal Vitis has been published by the Geilweilerhof Institute of Grape Breeding since 1957. See also geisenheim.